AA to NUS Central Library

National University of Singapore
30,470.29 sqm
  • BCI Interior Design Award (IDA) 2019, Winner, Category: Learning
  • BCA Green Mark Platinum Award Super Low Energy (SLE) 2020


The National University of Singapore (NUS) Central Library re-invented, revamped itself in order to response to the foregoing trends, remain relevant and continue in its upward trajectory. The redeveloped Central Library aims to be an activity hub for limitless discovery, exchange of ideas, knowledge creation, scholarly engagement, communication, collaborations and innovation. A place where faculty teaches, student learn and researchers seed their ideas for impactful research.

The brief and objective of this project was to retrofit six levels, approximately 30,000 square metre of area, of the existing NUS Central Library building. Some of the key challenges for this project were to revitalize interior spaces that will catalyze experiential learning, research and knowledge creation; while respecting the exterior façade by adapting a conservative approach to retain library’s identity; to conceptualize designs of spaces adapting to the actual/existing site conditions and constraints; and to design a welcoming entrance and foyer space, to enable students, staff or public, as well as the physically disabled, to have easy and safe access to or through the library.

The Consultant Team tackled the brief by delivering few main design guidelines: referring to the overarching theme of “Modern contemporary timeless, mindful of Asian essence”, reimagining spatial experience, being versatile in space planning and design, and elevating the condition of the external surrounding spaces.

Planning and designing strategically in this case meant anticipating change, aiming to ease construction process on site. Many material components are designed in modules or in standard sizes to increase productivity and efficiency during installation. Not only did the Consultant Team work closely with users (librarians) to formulate clear design goals, they worked to ensure that the goals were achievable mindful of budget.

The front façade was extended and re-molded to create a double volume Galleria space, creating seamless connection from the main road and Forum to or through the library. The design of the front façade is purposely tilted to embrace the rectangular columns, create dynamism to the entrance. When approaching the Central Library from the Forum, together with the carefully position and selection of lighting ambience, users are able to appreciate the full view of the MET made rare books collection on display at second level, and the continuation of tubular ceiling flowing from the Forum into the Galleria.

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